The EXPECTING GOODNESS SHORT FILM FESTIVAL is nearly here. If you don’t have your tickets yet, you might miss out if you don’t get them asap right here. Experience the goodness!
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Incredibly, the 2013 Expecting Goodness project films are due to me in exactly one month. My, how the months fly!
But this is an exciting time to be a part of the project because, as they move into post-production, the filmmakers are starting to share teasers of their films in photos and videos.
Here’s filmmaker Durham Harrison directing Grammy, played by Kathy Hartzog, in “Grammy’s Keys” (based on the story by Melinda Cotton).
And here’s a shot from Jeff Driggers and Drew Baron’s “Pretty Pitiful God” (based on the story by Deno Trakas).
And here’s a little featurette from Abe Duenas’ “Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos,” based on Lindy Keane Carter’s story “Sucker.”
There’s more to come!
So if you want an experience like none other, and you want to see all of the 2013 films premiere, then you must, must, get your tickets soon for the March 23 festival at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg.
Abe Duenas is a returning Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival filmmaker for the 2013 festival. Director of last year’s festival entry “The Widower’s Pearls,” Abe is a seasoned short filmmaker and plans an ambitious project for this year’s festival. Therefore, Abe Duenas has selected the slogan “Expect Artistry” for his project.
Every time I meet a new artist or someone who appreciates art in the Upstate, I think “wow, great– someone new who may appreciate what filmmakers in our area are doing.”
Last year, the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival gave seven filmmakers the great opportunity to showcase their talent. I was overjoyed the night of the festival– right here, in our backyard, we were sharing what our crews had painfully crafted for the past three months. No one really knew what to expect from the other entries, but judging from the sold out crowds, we knew it would be a great night for this emerging medium in Spartanburg.
Last year, we produced “The Widower’s Pearls,” a film about how a father must carry on as a widowed man, raising three daughters. The story takes place in a familiar diner where he deals with the different challenges that three different ages come with. He ultimately faces a life changing challenge that very night with one of his daughters.
Last year’s film was a strict adaptation of the original story. This year, the story I selected was “Sucker” by Lindy Keane Carter. I strongly recommend following the link to the story, since I will be shooting a film based on it. I wanted to do something different this year. I wanted to shoot a film that was inspired by the characters of the original story. In “Sucker,” the story ends with the reader not knowing exactly what will happen. My film will pick up from where those characters were and give my own interpretation of “what if?” The title of my film is “Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos” (Where One Eats, Two Can Eat). It’s based on an old saying my father would always tell my brothers and me when he wanted to teach us the importance about sharing and what we gain from doing so. In the film, we will see how our main character learns how one can never be too old to come to some of life’s most important lessons. Those lessons are the importance of having friends (even if they are not what you expected or wanted) and how important it is to tell those close to you how you feel about them.
As part of this year’s project, I am also reaching out to the community and offering opportunities for them to get involved. I have an indiegogo campaign that I have launched to raise a little bit of funds to cover my actors and crew’s travel expenses, plus set design and equipment. For those involved, there will be perks and chances for sponsorship. Also, businesses that are interested will get additional perks, such as a video made by me and graphic design work.
With so many being part of this year’s film festival, the excitement and anxiousness will be double from what it was last year. But I think this is a good thing. I know everyone will be bringing their very best to the show. I plan to put every ounce of artistry I can into this project. I wish that every film I see that is not mine is better than what I produced; if this is the case, we’re all in for an awesome night.
I will be posting updates frequently, so please follow me or contact me if you would like to be involved with my film.
By: F.B. Wood
Part of the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival
F.B. is currently a student at USC Upstate and a prolific writer. To quote his Twitter page, F.B. uses the written word to “smith together sentences for both fiction and ad-copy while simultaneously tending to the needs of my 3 year old daughter.”
I have seen many movies that were based on or adapted from a novel or short story–A Clockwork Orange, Watchmen, and Children of the Corn. In each and every case I understand that there is a new creative director at the helm of the project. They want their ideas to be expressed alongside the ideas already presented in the story or novel. In some cases there is no choice but for this to happen as sometimes the author has passed on and in other cases the author is too busy. This passing of the “wand” is something that should happen as fresh eyes always help bring to light new perspectives. With that being said, I wanted to share a few guidelines that I, as an avid book reader and movie viewer, would like to share about adapting the novel for the silver screen.
- Maintain the original plot.
This is the base for both the novel and the inspiration that drove you to want to make the movie. In the movie making process, there are a lot of decisions to be made in regards to the final product. Many parts of the novel have to be removed. But don’t let someone talk you out of the original plot. In some cases, the backdrop of a story is the inspiration of the film and a new plot is generated; such was the case with Children of the Corn. If this does indeed happen, avoid future condemning from book enthusiasts and just pick a new title for the movie.
- Do not introduce new main characters.
Many times you want to help explain a protagonist’s choice in certain circumstances. So, instead of embracing the inner monologue that prose gets to many directors choice to add in a scene of dialogue to help explain. This in turn generates a new character in order for the protagonist to bounce ideas off of. It’s fine if you create a gas station attend that hears the protagonist mumble and then questions him, but please do not add a whole new sidekick like in Children of the Corn thus completely changing the dynamic of the main character and his decision making process.
- Have characters make new decisions based on their old personalities.
If you do decide to take the plot in a new direction, but find the characters to irresistible to let go make sure and keep them true to who they were originally written as. If the character is faced with a new choice to make research how they might act on this to help better decide which way they would go. Alex in A Clockwork Orange breaks into the Home residence by himself in Kubrick’s movie, but does it with his droogs in the novel. This launches the protagonist into a new height of absurdity in the movie.
- Change the ending as little as possible.
This is a problem that runs rampant through quite a few movies. Directors feel that because they add so much to a story that they are then free to create how they choose. This is fine as long as you change the title of your movie. The reason you’re turning the book into a movie is because so many people were moved by the novel as a whole. Try to keep that in mind when presenting it for the silver screen. Many times characters’ personalities are destroyed by a new ending; take Watchmen, for example.
- Keep as much of the original dialogue as possible.
If the character was written with a Scottish accent then he should maintain the same speech patterns in the movie that he was given in the book. He should use the same slang in the same manner. When you take creative liberties with something like this, it radically changes how the character is perceived by the audience.
If you are only using a portion of the story, like just its characters or setting, make sure to stay as faithful to that character or setting as you can. The changes you make beyond that are yours. My biggest piece of advice would be to change the title and say it was inspired by this novel. However, if you are trying to stay faithful to the novel in its truest form, make sure to keep these guidelines in mind.
One week ago we invited all of the 2013 filmmakers and writers to The Showroom to meet each other and the public. It was our official launch of the four-month project that is the Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival. As of now, the project is ON, the stories are transitioning into films, the filmmakers are building their cast and crew. And we’re super excited.
Didn’t make it to Launch Night but still want to get involved? SIGN UP HERE.
We have our first four project events within the span of a week, the first happening (right now, actually) is the Screenwriting Workshop with Chris White and Emily Reach White (thanks to Paris MTN Scout for donating their time and expertise!).
Tonight, we welcome the hilarious and poignant Susan Isaacs to The Showroom for hersolo show Angry Conversations with God. Wednesday is our first in the Story to Screen series, where we invite you to read the story “Brokeback Mountain” and then watch the movie with us at the Spartanburg Library Headquarters, followed by a discussion. And, our final 2012 project event before it really kicks off in January is The Epic Spartanburg premiere with Steve Snell (which, we promise, truly will be EPIC) on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7pm in The Showroom.
We’re a nonprofit, as you know, which means we often have (and get) to be creative. Well, we did just that Monday night when we held our first-ever livestreamed event to select the filmmakers and stories/writers that would be a part of the 2013 project.
Only the registered filmmakers and writers could watch Stephen, Alf, and I as we drew names to determine the 7 emerging and 7 experienced filmmakers and their selected stories that would make up our project (MEET THEM HERE). We can also now reveal that our surprise 15th filmmaker is Abe Duenas, whom we have invited back as our 2012 Best Film winner for The Widower’s Pearls. (And whoever wins 2013 Best Film will be invited back in 2014.)
We’re thrilled to introduce the 15 filmmakers and 15 writers to you at Launch Night on Saturday, when you can meet them and sign up to help on the films. In the meantime, here’s a look at them by the numbers:
- 6 of the 15 stories are South Carolina Fiction Project winners
- 11 women are in as writers or filmmakers
- 8 of the 30 participants are from Spartanburg
Let’s look at it in map-form, shall we? I think we can safely say 2013 is a statewide film festival. So exciting!